At the outset of this book we submitted that Theo van Boven’s leadership of the UN human rights programme between 1977 and 1982 saw the advent of universal protection and transformed the UN’s handling of human rights issues. Great gaps in protection still remained and those gaps unfortunately still exist today. With the possible exception of the establishment, over time, of human rights field offices—something that van Boven himself advanced—, there has not been a burst of creative leadership since his time, notwithstanding the arrival of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in 1994 and the Human Rights Council in 2006.
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